Over 37,000 people in the UK die from Sepsis every year and many more people are affected; its effects are devastating.

Sepsis is a life threatening condition that happens when the body’s response to an infection damages its own tissues and organs. Severe Sepsis leads to shock, the body’s organs fail and the casualty may die. It is vitally important to recognise symptoms early and treat promptly.

One of the most common ways of developing Sepsis is following an operation or injury where the wound becomes infected.


Always regularly check a wound site following an injury or surgical procedure. If the wound becomes hot, itchy, swollen or red – you should seek medical advice promptly.


Possible Signs and Symptoms of Sepsis

Unfortunately Sepsis can be a difficult condition to recognise and often takes a while to diagnose. There is a major campaign to raise awareness of possible early signs as the sooner it is identified and treatment started the better the outcome for the patient.

Often Sepsis occurs as a result of infection following an injury or operation when the wound becomes infected and the infection spreads to the blood system causing the casualty to become unwell.

There are 6 key signs and symptoms that we are encouraged to look out for and they are listed in the chart below.

Sepsis Trust

Sepsis can be hard to recognise at first as early symptoms are similar to flu and other common illnesses, they are also similar to Meningitis.

Look out for:

  • Pale, mottled skin.
  • Muscle pain and shivering
  • Slurred speech
  • Breathlessness
  • Failure to pass any urine
  • A sense of ‘impending doom’ or a feeling that they might die

When to go to hospital

If someone is getting worse and you are seriously concerned

If they are seriously unwell and have some of the above symptoms

If you are sent home from the hospital or GP Surgery and the casualty gets worse. Return again. Trust your instincts and tell them you are worried!



Written by Emma Hammett for First Aid for Life

It is strongly advised that you attend a Practical First Aid course to understand what to do in a medical emergency. Please visit or call 0208 675 4036 for more information about our courses.

First Aid for life provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information.


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